The Montana School Board Association recently released a survey which indicated that the biggest problem for most school districts is finding good teachers – but that might not be the case in Missoula.
School districts are struggling to fill teaching vacancies across Montana, but in Missoula there’s a large pool of candidates to choose from.
“I think it's wonderful to have a full, well rounded candidate pool from which to draw from,” said Dr. Elise Guest, the executive director of teaching and learning a MCPS. “I think that allows us to really be competitive and find the right candidate for the position that meets the needs of an individual school building or position in the district, so it gives us a little more flexibility and allows us to really pinpoint the right need and find the right candidate to fill that need.”
So, what makes Missoula such a desirable place for teachers?
“It's an awesome place to live right? We have great recreation, we have healthcare, we have a great education system, we are right next door to the university, and our public school system is awesome as well,” said, Missoula Education Association President Kacee Ballou. “We have worked really hard to make it a great place to live, so we have the luck of getting some great candidates that come through.”
“I also think it speaks highly about MCPS in general that we know when your hired here we are doing the best we can to support new teachers and people coming into our district so that they are set up for success. And that does resonate with a number of people who apply for the positions,” Dr. Guest added.
A strong partnership between the teachers union and MCPS doesn't hurt the districts applicant numbers either.
“We actually do have a great partnership with the union and the district, and that helps to make sure that teachers actually have a seat at the table,” Ballou said. “That we are a part of the decisions that are made, and we have a say in our working conditions and our students learning conditions.”